Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

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Russian Demand For Schengen Visa Surges Amid Calls For European Travel Ban.

Russians are racing to secure Schengen visas amid calls for a ban on travel to Europe, the daily Kommersant has reported, citing executives at tour agencies.
Marina Shirokova, a manager at Vizakhod, told the Russian newspaper that demand for Schengen visas had surged about 40 percent over the past two weeks as fears grow that European travel could soon be off-limits.
A Schengen visa is a 90-day visa that allows a person to travel to any of the 26 European members of the Schengen area for tourism or business purposes. Each member country of the Schengen zone can issue Schengen visas.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on August 8 called on the European Union to ban Russian tourists to punish Moscow for its brutal invasion, now in its sixth month. Three days later, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said that his country will bar Russian citizens with Schengen visas issued by Estonia from entering the Baltic country because of the Kremlin's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

However, he said it will still remain valid for entry into other member countries.
Russians are already facing difficulties in traveling to Europe amid a backlash over the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine. Several countries have stopped issuing tourist visas to Russians in a sign of protest. Moreover, the EU has closed its airspace to Russia.
As a result, many Russians with Schengen visas having been flying to Europe via the Baltics or Finland. Now that path could become more difficult if Estonia moves ahead with its plan. The number of Russians traveling to Europe is down about 90 percent compared with the prewar period, Maya Lomidze, executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia, told Kommersant. She said Russians seeking Schengen visas were mainly interested in traveling to resort destinations in France, Italy, Spain, and Greece. Germany, Europe's largest country, has come out against a blanket visa ban on Russians. Chancellor Olaf Scholz said it would hurt "innocent people."

Кращі інструменти для створення інтерфейсу користувача, ці інструменти допоможуть вам зробити це швидше та ефективніше, позбавивши необхідності зно...
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